What is God’s heart for the nations? The Bible presents a picture so big, a vision so vast and a heart so large that even the wildest imagination and greatest faith can hardly grasp it. God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9). “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations” (Matt. 24:14). “And after these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev 7:9).
Thailand is a mission field that presents a God-sized challenge. According to the Seventh-day Adventist yearbook, Thailand has a population of 66,185,000 and an Adventist membership of 15,160, or a little more than two hundredths of a percent. There is one Seventh-day Adventist for every 4,366 people in the country, and only a very small percentage of these members are from a Buddhist background.
The numbers don’t look much better for Christianity at large. According to Joshua Project, only 1.5 percent of Thailand’s population is Christian or nominal Christian. 97 percent of the Thai people are Buddhists. Only Mongolia and Bhutan have a higher percentage of Buddhist population.
What does Adventist Frontier Missions plan to do in this culture that has so winsomely and yet so firmly resisted Christianity for centuries? Working in their various corners of Thailand, our AFM missionaries have caught a vision for a new work that combines their array of talents into a unified team, pulling together with the Holy Spirit to ignite a Gospel movement in the heart of Thailand.
Khon Kaen is a social and economic hub in Thailand. It is also a gateway to other major countries in Asia. God willing, we are working together with the Thai Adventist Mission to establish a center of influence in Khon Kaen, a place where winsome witness, daring discipleship and servant leadership training can flow through the social arteries of this great nation.
As you will see in the other articles this month introducing this bold initiative, each member of this extraordinary team has been called and equipped for such a time as this. The body of Christ is an apt metaphor for the partnership of effort that this venture demands. Early conversations with each of the team members focused on the magnitude of the task, the shortness of time and the need for a most earnest effort to reach the Buddhist people of Thailand. There is a quiet sense among our missionaries that this new assignment will call for significant sacrifice and personal transformation. However, in order for this initiative to succeed, we will need much more than what any human team can bring to the table. We are praying for miracles!
So what is God’s heart for the nations, and what is our part as we seek to serve the pleasure of our King? Now is a time for bold action. Please join with the Thai team, this little Gideon’s army, in praying that this small seed of bold faith will burst with abundant life and bring a harvest worthy of the King! That we would have the joy and privilege someday with the prophet John to “behold, a great multitude that no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues [including Thai] standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9).